New Lifeforms Discovered In Yucatan Cave System

Conceptual model of a density-stratified coastal Yucatan cave
Conceptual model of a density-stratified coastal Yucatan cave

Scientists from Europe, the USA and Mexico have made an astonishing discovery in the northeastern Yucatan peninsula.

The Ox Bel Ha cave system has provided some remarkable insights into how ecosystems work. Amongst the things found are certain bacteria that feed on methane to form the basis of the entire food system.

According to Newsweek, researchers have found that the methane is not only used for food by bacteria, but also by some other species too. One species of shrimp was found to get 21 percent of its food from methane.

According David Brankovits, the lead author of the report from the Texas A&M University in Galveston:

“Finding that methane and other forms of mostly invisible dissolved organic matter are the foundation of the food web in these caves explains why cave-adapted animals are able to thrive in the water column in a habitat without visible evidence of food.”

Researchers with the project said the information they have learned will help them better understand other isolated underwear ecosystems around the world.